Minorities drive biggest jump in college freshman enrollment in 40 years, study says
Hispanics and other minority students drove the largest rise in freshman enrollment in the past 40 years at the nation’s 6,100 four-year, post-secondary institutions from fall 2007 to fall 2008, according to a study released today. But the enrollment boom was concentrated in certain states and highly focused on a very small number of the largest colleges and universities.
The report, by the Pew Research Center and entitled “Minorities and the Recession-Era College Enrollment Boom,” said that there was a 6 percent jump in overall freshman enrollment at four-year colleges, community colleges and trade schools from 2007 to 2008, the first year of the recession.
Hispanics had a 15 percent increase; blacks, 8 percent; Asians, 6 percent; and whites, 3 percent, according to the study, conducted by Pew Center’s Social & Demographic Trends Project.
Educators and population experts have for several years been predicting a rise in minority freshman enrollment in post-secondary institutions as the country’s overall demographics change.
The makeup of the freshman class at the nation’s four-year colleges and universities dropped from 64 percent white in 2007 to 62 percent white in 2008, the report said. And the freshman class makeup at community colleges and trade schools dropped from 55 white in 2007 to 53 percent white in 2008.
Of the 144,000-student -- or 6 percent -- increase in freshman enrollment, about 72,000 occurred at just 109 colleges and universities. That means at less than 2 percent of the nation’s post-secondary schools accommodated half of the enrollment boom.
The nonprofit schools with the biggest increases:
*Fresno City College, a two-year California public school, 448 percent increase.
*Riverside Community College, a two-year California public school, 227 percent increase
*Mesa Community College, a two-year Arizona public school, 149 percent increase
*Santa Ana College, a two-year California college, 127 percent
The largest public four-year institution was Arizona State University, with a 21 percent rise, followed by the University of Oregon’s 20 percent increase.
The enrollment rise is attributed to at least two factors, the report said. It came at a time when employment opportunities for young people fell significantly as the recession began to take hold, and the nation’s high school graduating class in spring/summer 2008 was estimated to be the largest ever.
What’s more, record rates of high school graduates are heading straight to college.
In October 2008, 68.6 percent of these new graduates were enrolled in college, matching the previous high. And last October, the figure was up to 70 percent.
“The strong growth in freshman enrollment suggests that youths do ‘adapt to circumstances,’ ” the study said.
Minority college students “tend to be clustered” more at community colleges and trade schools than at four-year colleges, and two-year community schools, most of which are community colleges, saw the largest increase -- 11 percent. Four-year institutions saw a 4 percent freshman enrollment rise, while trade schools, which offer programs of less than two years, saw a rise of 5 percent.
For-profit colleges and universities -- including four-year schools as well as those with shorter programs -- had an 11 percent jump, it said.
Follow my blog all day, every day by bookmarking washingtonpost.com/answersheet. And for admissions advice, college news and links to campus papers, please check out our Higher Education page at washingtonpost.com/higher-ed. Bookmark it!
| June 16, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
Categories: College Admissions, Equity | Tags: college enrollment, freshman college enrollment, freshman enrollment jumps, freshman enrollment rises, pew enrollment study, pew research center, pew study on college enrollment
Save & Share: Previous: Ravitch: 'Are we in an era of National Stupidity?'
Next: The pain of graduation: 5-inch heels
Posted by: postisarag | June 16, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: kenk3 | June 16, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: pepperjade | June 16, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: TooManyPeople | June 17, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: case50 | June 17, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: smckaho420 | June 17, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: doglover6 | June 17, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: carlaclaws | June 17, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: woof3 | June 17, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: stayone | June 17, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: TheChampisheretoo | June 17, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: LibertyForAll | June 17, 2010 11:53 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.